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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Soccer faces tough competition on Oregon trail this weekend

    The Arizona soccer team has been through its ups and downs this season, but this weekend could be its toughest, especially for the seniors.

    The numbers of the Wildcats’ five seniors and one undergraduate assistant were painted on the field facing the stands on Wednesday, signifying the final two games each player would take part in at Murphey Field.

    The final pair of home games will feature Oregon State (6-7-2, 1-3-1 Pacific 10 Conference) tonight at 7 and Oregon (7-7-2, 0-4-1) Sunday at noon.

    “”It’s definitely going to be a rough weekend,”” said senior goalkeeper Chelsea McIntyre. “”In the sense that it’s all coming to an end, it’s sad. But at the same time, it’s a big weekend because we know how much is at stake and we know what we have to get done in order to have a hope of the postseason.””

    The seniors will need to do all they can to control their emotions throughout the weekend, as Arizona’s final four games of the season will be critical in determining the team’s postseason future.

    Luckily for the Wildcats (8-8, 1-4), their toughest tests are behind them as the Beavers and Ducks come to Tucson with a combined 1-7-2 record in conference play. Oregon State is coming off a win last Sunday against Washington State, although it carries a 1-5-1 record in its last seven contests.

    The Ducks currently sit last in the conference and are also 1-5-1 in their last seven games.

    The competition will be different compared to Arizona’s previous four matchups, in which the team faced four teams currently ranked in the nation’s top 30.

    “”If you look at it, we’ve had a pretty difficult schedule,”” McIntyre said.

    “”We played four top-ranked teams in a row, and not to use that as an excuse but not many teams in the country have to do that.

    “”But we’re not looking past (the Oregon schools) at all,”” McIntyre said. “”Every time we step on the field we expect it to be a tough battle.””

    For the second straight season, the Wildcats are at risk of wasting a strong early-season effort as the team is currently 1-4 in conference play and in the midst of a four-game losing streak.

    During their current slump, Arizona has been outscored 9-1. The stretch almost mirrors a similar one the Wildcats went through last season prior to facing the Oregon schools, in which Arizona was outscored 7-1 in its previous four games.

    The lack of scoring lately is a source of concern for the team, but the Wildcats are not looking at the situation as something that can’t be fixed.

    “”We realize we’ve been struggling a bit offensively in the past few games, but I don’t think anything’s really been missing,”” said forward Jasmine Namdar. “”It’s just important for us to keep a positive mindset. Just because we haven’t scored doesn’t mean it’s going to continue on like that.””

    Defensively, Arizona has not been bad lately. Instead, the lopsided goal differential has been more of an illustration of the attack the Wildcats’ back line has been victim to.

    In its last four games, Arizona has been shot on 79 times while only dishing out 19 of its own shots. While significantly fewer of the Wildcats’ opponents’ shots were on goal, the opportunities from the opposition are drastically higher.

    The large number of shots allowed has been beneficial to McIntyre personally, as she has moved into first place in the Pac-10 for both saves and saves per game.

    Even with a solid goalkeeper, however, some balls do get through, and UA head coach Dan Tobias knows his team must be more aggressive on the defensive end to prevent such attacks.

    One advantage Arizona has this weekend could be the emotions of the seniors.

    “”I think (the seniors) will be what they’ve always been, but they’ll have a little more octane going,”” Tobias said. “”They’re playing at home, they’re playing with girls they have started withÿ- some girls who have sustained injuries.

    “”I just think it means a lot to them to go out and play well and win,”” he added. “”So I’m excited to watch them play and see what they can do in their final outing (at home).””

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